Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a group of fat-soluble secosteroids responsible for increasing intestinal absorption of calcium, magnesium, and phosphate, and many other biological effects. In humans, the most important compounds in this group are vitamin D₃ and vitamin D₂. The major natural source of the vitamin is synthesis of cholecalciferol in the lower layers of epidermis of the skin through a chemical reaction that is dependent on sun exposure. Cholecalciferol and ergocalciferol can be ingested from the diet and supplements. Only a few foods, such as the flesh of fatty fish, naturally contain significant amounts of vitamin D. In the U.S. and other countries, cow's milk and plant-derived milk substitutes are fortified with vitamin D, as are many breakfast cereals. Mushrooms exposed to ultraviolet light contribute useful amounts of vitamin D₂.

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